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Man Pages


Manual Reference Pages  -  SYSCTL (3)

NAME

sysctl, sysctlbyname, sysctlnametomib - get or set system information

CONTENTS

Library
Synopsis
Description
     Ctl_debug
     Ctl_vfs
     Ctl_hw
     Ctl_kern
     Ctl_net
     Ctl_user
     Ctl_vm
Return Values
Files
Errors
See Also
History

LIBRARY


.Lb libc

SYNOPSIS


.In sys/types.h
.In sys/sysctl.h int sysctl const int *name u_int namelen void *oldp size_t *oldlenp const void *newp size_t newlen int sysctlbyname const char *name void *oldp size_t *oldlenp const void *newp size_t newlen int sysctlnametomib const char *name int *mibp size_t *sizep

DESCRIPTION

The sysctl function retrieves system information and allows processes with appropriate privileges to set system information. The information available from sysctl consists of integers, strings, and tables. Information may be retrieved and set from the command interface using the sysctl(8) utility.

Unless explicitly noted below, sysctl returns a consistent snapshot of the data requested. Consistency is obtained by locking the destination buffer into memory so that the data may be copied out without blocking. Calls to sysctl are serialized to avoid deadlock.

The state is described using a ‘‘Management Information Base’’ (MIB) style name, listed in name, which is a namelen length array of integers.

The sysctlbyname function accepts an ASCII representation of the name and internally looks up the integer name vector. Apart from that, it behaves the same as the standard sysctl function.

The information is copied into the buffer specified by oldp. The size of the buffer is given by the location specified by oldlenp before the call, and that location gives the amount of data copied after a successful call and after a call that returns with the error code ENOMEM. If the amount of data available is greater than the size of the buffer supplied, the call supplies as much data as fits in the buffer provided and returns with the error code ENOMEM. If the old value is not desired, oldp and oldlenp should be set to NULL.

The size of the available data can be determined by calling sysctl with the NULL argument for oldp. The size of the available data will be returned in the location pointed to by oldlenp. For some operations, the amount of space may change often. For these operations, the system attempts to round up so that the returned size is large enough for a call to return the data shortly thereafter.

To set a new value, newp is set to point to a buffer of length newlen from which the requested value is to be taken. If a new value is not to be set, newp should be set to NULL and newlen set to 0.

The sysctlnametomib function accepts an ASCII representation of the name, looks up the integer name vector, and returns the numeric representation in the mib array pointed to by mibp. The number of elements in the mib array is given by the location specified by sizep before the call, and that location gives the number of entries copied after a successful call. The resulting mib and size may be used in subsequent sysctl calls to get the data associated with the requested ASCII name. This interface is intended for use by applications that want to repeatedly request the same variable (the sysctl function runs in about a third the time as the same request made via the sysctlbyname function). The sysctlnametomib function is also useful for fetching mib prefixes and then adding a final component. For example, to fetch process information for processes with pid’s less than 100:

int i, mib[4];
size_t len;
struct kinfo_proc kp;

/* Fill out the first three components of the mib */ len = 4; sysctlnametomib("kern.proc.pid", mib, &len);

/* Fetch and print entries for pid’s < 100 */ for (i = 0; i < 100; i++) {         mib[3] = i;         len = sizeof(kp);         if (sysctl(mib, 4, &kp, &len, NULL, 0) == -1)                 perror("sysctl");         else if (len > 0)                 printkproc(&kp); }

The top level names are defined with a CTL_ prefix in
.In sys/sysctl.h , and are as follows. The next and subsequent levels down are found in the include files listed here, and described in separate sections below.
Name   Next level names        Description
CTL_DEBUG     sys/sysctl.h    Debugging
CTL_VFS       sys/mount.h     File system
CTL_HW        sys/sysctl.h    Generic CPU, I/O
CTL_KERN      sys/sysctl.h    High kernel limits
CTL_MACHDEP   sys/sysctl.h    Machine dependent
CTL_NET       sys/socket.h    Networking
CTL_USER      sys/sysctl.h    User-level
CTL_VM        vm/vm_param.h   Virtual memory
 

For example, the following retrieves the maximum number of processes allowed in the system:

int mib[2], maxproc;
size_t len;

mib[0] = CTL_KERN; mib[1] = KERN_MAXPROC; len = sizeof(maxproc); sysctl(mib, 2, &maxproc, &len, NULL, 0);

To retrieve the standard search path for the system utilities:

int mib[2];
size_t len;
char *p;

mib[0] = CTL_USER; mib[1] = USER_CS_PATH; sysctl(mib, 2, NULL, &len, NULL, 0); p = malloc(len); sysctl(mib, 2, p, &len, NULL, 0);

    CTL_DEBUG

The debugging variables vary from system to system. A debugging variable may be added or deleted without need to recompile sysctl to know about it. Each time it runs, sysctl gets the list of debugging variables from the kernel and displays their current values. The system defines twenty (Vt struct ctldebug) variables named debug0 through debug19. They are declared as separate variables so that they can be individually initialized at the location of their associated variable. The loader prevents multiple use of the same variable by issuing errors if a variable is initialized in more than one place. For example, to export the variable dospecialcheck as a debugging variable, the following declaration would be used:

int dospecialcheck = 1;
struct ctldebug debug5 = { "dospecialcheck", &dospecialcheck };

    CTL_VFS

A distinguished second level name, VFS_GENERIC, is used to get general information about all file systems. One of its third level identifiers is VFS_MAXTYPENUM that gives the highest valid file system type number. Its other third level identifier is VFS_CONF that returns configuration information about the file system type given as a fourth level identifier (see getvfsbyname(3) as an example of its use). The remaining second level identifiers are the file system type number returned by a statfs(2) call or from VFS_CONF. The third level identifiers available for each file system are given in the header file that defines the mount argument structure for that file system.

    CTL_HW

The string and integer information available for the CTL_HW level is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value.
Second level name      Type    Changeable
HW_MACHINE    string  no
HW_MODEL      string  no
HW_NCPU       integer no
HW_BYTEORDER  integer no
HW_PHYSMEM    integer no
HW_USERMEM    integer no
HW_PAGESIZE   integer no
HW_FLOATINGPT integer no
HW_MACHINE_ARCH       string  no
HW_REALMEM    integer no
 
HW_MACHINE
  The machine class.
HW_MODEL
  The machine model
HW_NCPU
  The number of cpus.
HW_BYTEORDER
  The byteorder (4,321, or 1,234).
HW_PHYSMEM
  The bytes of physical memory.
HW_USERMEM
  The bytes of non-kernel memory.
HW_PAGESIZE
  The software page size.
HW_FLOATINGPT
  Nonzero if the floating point support is in hardware.
HW_MACHINE_ARCH
  The machine dependent architecture type.
HW_REALMEM
  The bytes of real memory.

    CTL_KERN

The string and integer information available for the CTL_KERN level is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value. The types of data currently available are process information, system vnodes, the open file entries, routing table entries, virtual memory statistics, load average history, and clock rate information.
Second level name      Type    Changeable
KERN_ARGMAX   integer no
KERN_BOOTFILE string  yes
KERN_BOOTTIME struct timeval  no
KERN_CLOCKRATE        struct clockinfo        no
KERN_FILE     struct xfile    no
KERN_HOSTID   integer yes
KERN_HOSTUUID string  yes
KERN_HOSTNAME string  yes
KERN_JOB_CONTROL      integer no
KERN_MAXFILES integer yes
KERN_MAXFILESPERPROC  integer yes
KERN_MAXPROC  integer no
KERN_MAXPROCPERUID    integer yes
KERN_MAXVNODES        integer yes
KERN_NGROUPS  integer no
KERN_NISDOMAINNAME    string  yes
KERN_OSRELDATE        integer no
KERN_OSRELEASE        string  no
KERN_OSREV    integer no
KERN_OSTYPE   string  no
KERN_POSIX1   integer no
KERN_PROC     node    not applicable
KERN_PROF     node    not applicable
KERN_QUANTUM  integer yes
KERN_SAVED_IDS        integer no
KERN_SECURELVL        integer raise only
KERN_UPDATEINTERVAL   integer no
KERN_VERSION  string  no
KERN_VNODE    struct xvnode   no
 
KERN_ARGMAX
  The maximum bytes of argument to execve(2).
KERN_BOOTFILE
  The full pathname of the file from which the kernel was loaded.
KERN_BOOTTIME
  A struct timeval structure is returned. This structure contains the time that the system was booted.
KERN_CLOCKRATE
  A struct clockinfo structure is returned. This structure contains the clock, statistics clock and profiling clock frequencies, the number of micro-seconds per hz tick and the skew rate.
KERN_FILE
  Return the entire file table. The returned data consists of an array of struct xfile, whose size depends on the current number of such objects in the system.
KERN_HOSTID
  Get or set the host ID.
KERN_HOSTUUID
  Get or set the host’s universally unique identifier (UUID).
KERN_HOSTNAME
  Get or set the hostname.
KERN_JOB_CONTROL
  Return 1 if job control is available on this system, otherwise 0.
KERN_MAXFILES
  The maximum number of files that may be open in the system.
KERN_MAXFILESPERPROC
  The maximum number of files that may be open for a single process. This limit only applies to processes with an effective uid of nonzero at the time of the open request. Files that have already been opened are not affected if the limit or the effective uid is changed.
KERN_MAXPROC
  The maximum number of concurrent processes the system will allow.
KERN_MAXPROCPERUID
  The maximum number of concurrent processes the system will allow for a single effective uid. This limit only applies to processes with an effective uid of nonzero at the time of a fork request. Processes that have already been started are not affected if the limit is changed.
KERN_MAXVNODES
  The maximum number of vnodes available on the system.
KERN_NGROUPS
  The maximum number of supplemental groups.
KERN_NISDOMAINNAME
  The name of the current YP/NIS domain.
KERN_OSRELDATE
  The kernel release version in the format M mm R xx, where M is the major version, mm is the two digit minor version, R is 0 if release branch, otherwise 1, and xx is updated when the available APIs change.

The userland release version is available from
.In osreldate.h ; parse this file if you need to get the release version of the currently installed userland.

KERN_OSRELEASE
  The system release string.
KERN_OSREV
  The system revision string.
KERN_OSTYPE
  The system type string.
KERN_POSIX1
  The version of -p1003.1 with which the system attempts to comply.
KERN_PROC
  Return selected information about specific running processes.

For the following names, an array of struct kinfo_proc structures is returned, whose size depends on the current number of such objects in the system.

Third level name       Fourth level is:
KERN_PROC_ALL None
KERN_PROC_PID A process ID
KERN_PROC_PGRP        A process group
KERN_PROC_TTY A tty device
KERN_PROC_UID A user ID
KERN_PROC_RUID        A real user ID
 

If the third level name is KERN_PROC_ARGS then the command line argument array is returned in a flattened form, i.e., zero-terminated arguments follow each other. The total size of array is returned. It is also possible for a process to set its own process title this way. If the third level name is KERN_PROC_PATHNAME, the path of the process’ text file is stored. For KERN_PROC_PATHNAME, a process ID of -1 implies the current process.
Third level name       Fourth level is:
KERN_PROC_ARGS      A process ID
KERN_PROC_PATHNAME      A process ID
 
KERN_PROF Return profiling information about the kernel. If the kernel is not compiled for profiling, attempts to retrieve any of the KERN_PROF values will fail with ENOENT. The third level names for the string and integer profiling information is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value.
Third level name       Type    Changeable
GPROF_STATE   integer yes
GPROF_COUNT   u_short[]       yes
GPROF_FROMS   u_short[]       yes
GPROF_TOS     struct tostruct yes
GPROF_GMONPARAM       struct gmonparam        no
 

The variables are as follows:
GPROF_STATE
  Returns GMON_PROF_ON or GMON_PROF_OFF to show that profiling is running or stopped.
GPROF_COUNT
  Array of statistical program counter counts.
GPROF_FROMS
  Array indexed by program counter of call-from points.
GPROF_TOS
  Array of struct tostruct describing destination of calls and their counts.
GPROF_GMONPARAM
  Structure giving the sizes of the above arrays.
KERN_QUANTUM
  The maximum period of time, in microseconds, for which a process is allowed to run without being preempted if other processes are in the run queue.
KERN_SAVED_IDS
  Returns 1 if saved set-group and saved set-user ID is available.
KERN_SECURELVL
  The system security level. This level may be raised by processes with appropriate privilege. It may not be lowered.
KERN_VERSION
  The system version string.
KERN_VNODE
  Return the entire vnode table. Note, the vnode table is not necessarily a consistent snapshot of the system. The returned data consists of an array whose size depends on the current number of such objects in the system. Each element of the array consists of a struct xvnode.

    CTL_NET

The string and integer information available for the CTL_NET level is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value.
Second level name      Type    Changeable
PF_ROUTE      routing messages        no
PF_INET       IPv4 values     yes
PF_INET6      IPv6 values     yes
 
PF_ROUTE
  Return the entire routing table or a subset of it. The data is returned as a sequence of routing messages (see route(4) for the header file, format and meaning). The length of each message is contained in the message header.

The third level name is a protocol number, which is currently always 0. The fourth level name is an address family, which may be set to 0 to select all address families. The fifth, sixth, and seventh level names are as follows:

Fifth level Sixth level      Seventh level
NET_RT_FLAGS rtflags      None
NET_RT_DUMP None      None or fib number
NET_RT_IFLIST 0 or if_index      None
NET_RT_IFMALIST 0 or if_index      None
NET_RT_IFLISTL 0 or if_index      None
 

The NET_RT_IFMALIST name returns information about multicast group memberships on all interfaces if 0 is specified, or for the interface specified by if_index.

The NET_RT_IFLISTL is like NET_RT_IFLIST, just returning message header structs with additional fields allowing the interface to be extended without breaking binary compatibility. The NET_RT_IFLISTL uses ’l’ versions of the message header structures: struct if_msghdrl and struct ifa_msghdrl.
PF_INET Get or set various global information about the IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4). The third level name is the protocol. The fourth level name is the variable name. The currently defined protocols and names are:
Protocol       Variable        Type    Changeable
icmp  bmcastecho      integer yes
icmp  maskrepl        integer yes
ip    forwarding      integer yes
ip    redirect        integer yes
ip    ttl     integer yes
udp   checksum        integer yes
 

The variables are as follows:
icmp.bmcastecho
  Returns 1 if an ICMP echo request to a broadcast or multicast address is to be answered.
icmp.maskrepl
  Returns 1 if ICMP network mask requests are to be answered.
ip.forwarding
  Returns 1 when IP forwarding is enabled for the host, meaning that the host is acting as a router.
ip.redirect
  Returns 1 when ICMP redirects may be sent by the host. This option is ignored unless the host is routing IP packets, and should normally be enabled on all systems.
ip.ttl The maximum time-to-live (hop count) value for an IP packet sourced by the system. This value applies to normal transport protocols, not to ICMP.
udp.checksum
  Returns 1 when UDP checksums are being computed and checked. Disabling UDP checksums is strongly discouraged.

For variables net.inet.*.ipsec, please refer to ipsec(4).

PF_INET6
  Get or set various global information about the IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). The third level name is the protocol. The fourth level name is the variable name.

For variables net.inet6.* please refer to inet6(4). For variables net.inet6.*.ipsec6, please refer to ipsec(4).

    CTL_USER

The string and integer information available for the CTL_USER level is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value.
Second level name      Type    Changeable
USER_BC_BASE_MAX      integer no
USER_BC_DIM_MAX       integer no
USER_BC_SCALE_MAX     integer no
USER_BC_STRING_MAX    integer no
USER_COLL_WEIGHTS_MAX integer no
USER_CS_PATH  string  no
USER_EXPR_NEST_MAX    integer no
USER_LINE_MAX integer no
USER_POSIX2_CHAR_TERM integer no
USER_POSIX2_C_BIND    integer no
USER_POSIX2_C_DEV     integer no
USER_POSIX2_FORT_DEV  integer no
USER_POSIX2_FORT_RUN  integer no
USER_POSIX2_LOCALEDEF integer no
USER_POSIX2_SW_DEV    integer no
USER_POSIX2_UPE       integer no
USER_POSIX2_VERSION   integer no
USER_RE_DUP_MAX       integer no
USER_STREAM_MAX       integer no
USER_TZNAME_MAX       integer no
 
USER_BC_BASE_MAX
  The maximum ibase/obase values in the bc(1) utility.
USER_BC_DIM_MAX
  The maximum array size in the bc(1) utility.
USER_BC_SCALE_MAX
  The maximum scale value in the bc(1) utility.
USER_BC_STRING_MAX
  The maximum string length in the bc(1) utility.
USER_COLL_WEIGHTS_MAX
  The maximum number of weights that can be assigned to any entry of the LC_COLLATE order keyword in the locale definition file.
USER_CS_PATH
  Return a value for the PATH environment variable that finds all the standard utilities.
USER_EXPR_NEST_MAX
  The maximum number of expressions that can be nested within parenthesis by the expr(1) utility.
USER_LINE_MAX
  The maximum length in bytes of a text-processing utility’s input line.
USER_POSIX2_CHAR_TERM
  Return 1 if the system supports at least one terminal type capable of all operations described in -p1003.2, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_C_BIND
  Return 1 if the system’s C-language development facilities support the C-Language Bindings Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_C_DEV
  Return 1 if the system supports the C-Language Development Utilities Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_FORT_DEV
  Return 1 if the system supports the FORTRAN Development Utilities Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_FORT_RUN
  Return 1 if the system supports the FORTRAN Runtime Utilities Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_LOCALEDEF
  Return 1 if the system supports the creation of locales, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_SW_DEV
  Return 1 if the system supports the Software Development Utilities Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_UPE
  Return 1 if the system supports the User Portability Utilities Option, otherwise 0.
USER_POSIX2_VERSION
  The version of -p1003.2 with which the system attempts to comply.
USER_RE_DUP_MAX
  The maximum number of repeated occurrences of a regular expression permitted when using interval notation.
USER_STREAM_MAX
  The minimum maximum number of streams that a process may have open at any one time.
USER_TZNAME_MAX
  The minimum maximum number of types supported for the name of a timezone.

    CTL_VM

The string and integer information available for the CTL_VM level is detailed below. The changeable column shows whether a process with appropriate privilege may change the value.
Second level name      Type    Changeable
VM_LOADAVG    struct loadavg  no
VM_TOTAL      struct vmtotal  no
VM_SWAPPING_ENABLED   integer maybe
VM_V_CACHE_MAX        integer yes
VM_V_CACHE_MIN        integer yes
VM_V_FREE_MIN integer yes
VM_V_FREE_RESERVED    integer yes
VM_V_FREE_TARGET      integer yes
VM_V_INACTIVE_TARGET  integer yes
VM_V_PAGEOUT_FREE_MIN integer yes
 
VM_LOADAVG
  Return the load average history. The returned data consists of a struct loadavg.
VM_TOTAL
  Return the system wide virtual memory statistics. The returned data consists of a struct vmtotal.
VM_SWAPPING_ENABLED
  1 if process swapping is enabled or 0 if disabled. This variable is permanently set to 0 if the kernel was built with swapping disabled.
VM_V_CACHE_MAX
  Maximum desired size of the cache queue.
VM_V_CACHE_MIN
  Minimum desired size of the cache queue. If the cache queue size falls very far below this value, the pageout daemon is awakened.
VM_V_FREE_MIN
  Minimum amount of memory (cache memory plus free memory) required to be available before a process waiting on memory will be awakened.
VM_V_FREE_RESERVED
  Processes will awaken the pageout daemon and wait for memory if the number of free and cached pages drops below this value.
VM_V_FREE_TARGET
  The total amount of free memory (including cache memory) that the pageout daemon tries to maintain.
VM_V_INACTIVE_TARGET
  The desired number of inactive pages that the pageout daemon should achieve when it runs. Inactive pages can be quickly inserted into process address space when needed.
VM_V_PAGEOUT_FREE_MIN
  If the amount of free and cache memory falls below this value, the pageout daemon will enter "memory conserving mode" to avoid deadlock.

RETURN VALUES


.Rv -std

FILES

In sys/sysctl.h definitions for top level identifiers, second level kernel and hardware identifiers, and user level identifiers
In sys/socket.h definitions for second level network identifiers
In sys/gmon.h definitions for third level profiling identifiers
In vm/vm_param.h definitions for second level virtual memory identifiers
In netinet/in.h definitions for third level IPv4/IPv6 identifiers and fourth level IPv4/v6 identifiers
In netinet/icmp_var.h definitions for fourth level ICMP identifiers
In netinet/icmp6.h definitions for fourth level ICMPv6 identifiers
In netinet/udp_var.h definitions for fourth level UDP identifiers

ERRORS

The following errors may be reported:
[EFAULT]
  The buffer name, oldp, newp, or length pointer oldlenp contains an invalid address.
[EINVAL]
  The name array is less than two or greater than CTL_MAXNAME.
[EINVAL]
  A non-null newp is given and its specified length in newlen is too large or too small.
[ENOMEM]
  The length pointed to by oldlenp is too short to hold the requested value.
[ENOMEM]
  The smaller of either the length pointed to by oldlenp or the estimated size of the returned data exceeds the system limit on locked memory.
[ENOMEM]
  Locking the buffer oldp, or a portion of the buffer if the estimated size of the data to be returned is smaller, would cause the process to exceed its per-process locked memory limit.
[ENOTDIR]
  The name array specifies an intermediate rather than terminal name.
[EISDIR]
  The name array specifies a terminal name, but the actual name is not terminal.
[ENOENT]
  The name array specifies a value that is unknown.
[EPERM]
  An attempt is made to set a read-only value.
[EPERM]
  A process without appropriate privilege attempts to set a value.

SEE ALSO

confstr(3), kvm(3), sysconf(3), sysctl(8)

HISTORY

The sysctl function first appeared in BSD 4.4 .
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